Vanity…

avanity

Most of us believe that whatever we are doing is important. I know when I wake up in the morning it’s really easy to begin focusing on the tasks at hand and all the things I’d like to accomplish in the upcoming day. Each day we have a brand new opportunity to be productive. Most of us will go to our jobs and provide for our families. This is a good thing. This is biblical and it’s God honoring. Isn’t it?

Well I guess it depends on your perspective.

Unless the LORD builds the house,

They labor in vain who build it;

Unless the LORD guards the city,

The watchman stays awake in

   vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early,

To sit up late,

To eat the bread of sorrows;

For so He gives His beloved

   sleep. – Psalm 127:1-2

There is something very interesting about the Word of God. It’s mostly, easy to understand. There is nothing difficult about what this says.   We don’t need an in depth study of each word to understand the message. There are two groups of people that will read this and take away very different understandings.

There is a warning contained in this passage for the unbelieving. This warning is clear. Outside of faith in Jesus Christ everything in your life is vanity. The word vanity in short means “useless”. Your existence is useless. It means that it is literally and figuratively ruined (morally). The unbeliever has a morally bankrupt life, and yet they have no concept of this. They believe their existence matters.

If I was to interview Oprah Winfrey, she would believe that her work is really making a difference. She would believe that her building of schools, her building of wells to provide water and educating young girls, is having a positive effect on the world around her. She believes, without a doubt, that she is building a city and it has meaning. I can feel the pushback already, because when I hear her words, and I know what she believes, then I lay her words on top of God’s Word, these two don’t go together.

Her building is vanity. It’s useless, because it is not built on Christ. It is not built by the LORD. It is vain for her to rise early and to stay up late. When we really get past the emotion of this, we can see that all of this is vanity.

Then we have a call to the Christian. For the Christian these things do matter. This is not permission to be lazy in our efforts.   Christian’s should be the best workers they can be, and should always give full effort to what they do, in no way is this a call not to be diligent in our work.   However, we should not call upon our own desires and our own wisdom in taking on these endeavors. All good things come from God, but we must act. There will be effort on our part, and that effort will be toil and difficult. God Himself has said that would be His curse upon the sons of Adam.

What are we to do with all of this, because it’s really difficult for most of us to think about how much vanity is all around us? I know that I’m challenged in my life when I think about it. I must really consider how many people I pass in a day that their lives are ultimately useless. I say that not to be hard but to awaken my conscience to their dire condition. I must preach to them because it’s their only hope.

If you are a believer, consider those around you and the message we must give that will be unpopular. As I said at the beginning, most of us believe we matter. Every person on this earth is created in the image of God and are therefore valuable and we have no idea how God will use them. We know that many will perish in their sin, but as far as we are concerned we have a job to do. We must tell them that God is holy, and there is coming a day of judgment. Will you build your house in vain, or will you build your house for the glory of God?

 

Kevin

Naked and Afraid…

eye-earth

It seems that shows with naked people on them is all the rage these days and I don’t find that a “good” thing. If you believe the Bible we see in the opening pages that being naked brought shame. Adam and Eve realized they had sinned against God, had been given knowledge God didn’t want them to have and they tried to cover themselves.

Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I command you that you should not eat?” – Genesis 3:9-11

Adam and Eve had no concept of their nakedness until they disobeyed God and He revealed it to them. In a society that is continuing to lose its fear of nakedness we see a searing of the conscience as it becomes more acceptable to disobey God. Once sin entered the world the decline happened quickly. It didn’t take long and God was grieved and destroyed mankind from the face of the earth with the exception of Noah and his family.

Most people in the world would not desire to go on a television reality show and be filmed naked, yet they will watch the shows and take pleasure in other’s sin and this is an approval of the action even though they don’t have the courage themselves to do so.

Romans 1:32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

There is coming a day when all will stand before the throne and give an account of our lives and everything we’ve ever done will be exposed. We will stand before the King as if naked, as He peers into our soul and sees everything we ever did and everything we ever thought.

Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

Nothing can be hidden from God’s sight, nothing! Every little word you ever muttered under your breath, every secret thought you harbored hatred toward someone, yelled at that driver that zipped in and out of traffic and called them a fool, all of the thoughts and intents of your heart will be exposed in all its ugliness.

There will be shame wrought as a Holy God judges each soul down to the smallest details.   Imagine the shame that the Jews felt in Nazi Germany as they were stripped and had all their dignity and rights removed from them, how humiliating that must have been. Imagine having this happen to the ones you love, either a spouse or children.

Nothing will be hidden from the eyes of God and an account will be settled.

Where is the hope?

Will your shame come now or then? This is really the question we must grapple with today. Have you felt the overwhelming shame as your sin has been exposed? Have you dealt with your nastiness here on earth? Have you beat your chest and begged for mercy?

“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:13-14

Jesus will cover our shame and cloth us in His righteousness, but we must come to Him broken and in need. Without it you will not see the kingdom of God, you will be as the Pharisee and placing your trust in your own righteousness.

When was the last time you cried out to God to be merciful? When was the last time you understood your nakedness? When was the last time you understood you need Jesus?

Don’t let this moment pass you by.

Kevin

Role reversal, the new normal?

role-reversalI believe gender role reversal is the new normal.  Just look around.  You are subtlety being brainwashed into believing a stay at home dad and working mom are entirely normal and everything is just wonderful if this is the way you choose to live.  The days of Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet are done.

If you think I’m being too harsh with the term brainwash turn on your television and see how many families you see living out a traditional familial structure; the man working and supporting the family and the wife staying home to care for the children.  Carefully observe ads that you see and run those through the filter of God’s Word.

I grew up in a family where my dad understood hard work.  I never remember my dad not working and I more often remember how hard he worked to provide.  My mom worked on a very limited basis but was always there when we came home from school.  What’s this world trying to get people to buy into and if you are a Believer are you buying into it?

I’ve recently seen two commercials that I believe illustrate my point quite nicely.  In a new Tide commercial we have a man extolling the virtues of being a man that can fold laundry perfectly and all the things that any woman could do.  Yet he is also manly enough to do pull-ups and crunches at the end of the commercial.  It’s a very catchy commercial and you might even find yourself chuckling at this.

In the second commercial we see an attractive and nicely dressed woman in her power suit instructing these working men how to build a house, or so it seems.  She is the authority in this scene as she points to the blueprints, they look at her with interest and nod their heads in agreement to whatever she is telling them.  These poor guys would be lost without her instructions or so this leads us to believe.  The message is loud and clear, she is in charge.  Note: I couldn’t find this one.

God designed men and women differently for good reasons.  It’s not accidental that men are more equipped for hard work and women are more nurturing with children.  If you bring a baby into a room of men they will probably look at the baby and go back to their conversation.  Do the same thing in a room full of women and they will be drawn to that baby like flies to a dead carcass.

So when did all this change begin?  Some will say the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s but if you look closely you can see examples of this throughout history.  Let’s look at when it really began.

Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

God’s design was for man to tend the garden, to be a worker.

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Woman is to be a helper, her job is to assist the man, this seems to be very straight forward and clear cut to me.  Man and Woman striving together for a cause.   See also Titus 2:3-8 for instructions for men and women.

So what happened when did this go wrong?

Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Ladies do you have a desire to control and rule over your husband?  If so, God told us this would happen, I doubt any of you would dispute that you have pain in child birth.

Men your natural reaction will be either to show her who’s boss or to allow her to lead to avoid the turmoil that comes when you try to assume leadership.  This is the natural outgrowth of sin.

We can go all the way back to the beginning to see the cause of this today.  It’s simple.  When sinful man or woman listens to the lies they end up in disobedience to God’s design.  We just happen to see that today it is getting more in your face.

God also told us this would happen.

Romans 1:21because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.      

The world will tell you that having a man work and wife staying at home to raise children is just not fulfilling enough.  There’s more out there for you if you are a smart and intelligent woman and you can earn more than the husband or the man, do it.  It’s a lie and if you are struggling to identify your role I pray you can find peace and solace in the only source of truth, God’s Word.

I recently knew a couple that seemed to have a good marriage with two nice boys.  He raised the kids while she went off to work.  The man enjoyed yard work and gardening, kind of like Adam, but he also worked out.  He was a big guy.  It seems while hanging around the gym he became attracted to another woman and before long the marriage was done.  It’s heartbreaking for me to see those boys and wonder how their lives will turn out because of decisions this man made.

Will this happen in all cases of a woman working?  Of course not; affairs happen when men work because of the ravages of sin but there is peace in God’s plan and His design, but that is foolishness to most (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Kevin